Web Design Boom Could Spell Doom For The Digital Marketing Industry

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This article caught my attention last week from Ad Week: Forrester Sees Web Design Boom (April 13th, 2007).
Here are some thoughts from Ad Week:
“Web design is becoming a larger priority for corporations, and that trend is driving a business boom for interactive design shops, according to Forrester Research.”
That is the good news.
It goes on to say:
“The demand is putting pressure on Web shops, which are suffering from a shortage of qualified employees in everything from copywriting to account management. The industry is also in the midst of a consolidation, as top independent firms like Digitas are snapped up by holding companies.”
… and that’s the bad news.
Not the consolidation or shops being snagged up by the large holding companies (that’s to be expected), but the shortage of qualified employees is something everyone in the Digital Marketing space needs to face… full on… and right now.
One of the main reasons I agreed to join the IAB Canada – Interactive Advertising Bureau national Board of Directors and NABS – National Advertising Benevolent Society – leadership committee for Quebec was to help bring awareness of our industry to individuals still in school or to people in other media spaces in hopes that they will consider a career in the Digital Marketing space.
Look at the amount of marketing budgets that are allocated to online, interactive and digital (it lands, on average, just under the double-digit percentage). That number consistently moves north and it will continue to do so by leaps and bounds in the coming years.
As focus leans on online collaboration, social networks, corporate websites, micro-sites, online advertising, search engine optimization, digital CRM programs, etc… we are currently ill-equipped to handle the coming tsunami of digital opportunities and needs.
I’m not sure I have one clear answer, but I do believe that young people interested in marketing, advertising, communications and PR need to be taking a closer look at our industry, and their course instructors (for the most part) simply don’t have the knowledge to guide, mentor or direct them to the Digital Marketing space.
Another huge opportunity (and I got this from Future Now conversion expert and co-author of Waiting For Your Cat To Bark, Bryan Eisenberg) is to look at other media industries – radio, television and print – and see if some of those professionals are looking for a change. Even if they don’t have direct interactive knowledge, much of what they have been trained to do is a transferable skill.
Here’s how the Ad Week piece ends:
“Forrester anticipates that demand for their services will only increase, citing a recent survey that found 50 percent of Web executives using outside agencies for their sites.”
Let’s be a real community and start this very serious conversation now.


  1. I agree whole-heartedly about the lack of talent in Web Shops, trying to find talent that can bring the shops and the client to the next level in the digital front are hard to find.
    But I also feel that these shops look for a very defined and specific profile for the candidates that they search out. As you mentioned they need to reach out to people that have experience in more traditional media (TV, radio, print) and be able to train them in the ways of the digital as well as the atypical candidate that has the desire to learn.
    Some courses that I would like to see from more professors are:
    Web Analytics (applying statistical analysis to large data sets and seeing what conclusions they can come up with)
    Actionscript programming
    Web Strategy
    But many of these topics are new to most professors and they don’t even know where to begun. Facebook, blogs and Web 2.0 is that thing that students do, but they have never taken the time to really understand the implication that these new technologies play in leveling the marketing field.

  2. You’re making some strong points Stephan. Schools can’t teach this stuff because to build a curriculum they need text books – and those don’t exist.
    True story: a major university asked me to teach a social media course. When they found out I don’t have a university degree, they said I was ineligible to teach.
    We need a new structure to get students in play. It won’t work if we’re creating students like tires in a factory.
    Lots needs to happen.

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